The Key to Small Business Marketing Success: Diagnosis Before Prescription

In the dynamic world of marketing, making informed decisions is the key to success.

Patrick McFadden
3 min readDec 9, 2023

Today we’re delving into a critical aspect of the marketing journey: the importance of diagnosis before prescription.

In this article, we’ll explore how this approach can be the game-changer when it comes to buying marketing services and avoiding the overwhelm that often accompanies such endeavors.

The Common Dilemma

Recently, I engaged in two conversations with prospects facing a common dilemma — buying marketing services and feeling overwhelmed with all the marketing channels available.

One group was grappling with the notion that they needed to do everything in marketing, while the other was in the process of buying marketing services.

Let’s focus on the latter and unravel the common mistakes that occur when people embark on the journey of procuring marketing services.

Buying Marketing Services

Typically, when business owners, CEOs, or VPs seek marketing services, especially in the digital realm, they assume that the strategic groundwork has already been laid.

Strategic work involves identifying ideal clients, understanding what sets the business apart, and recognizing the unique value it brings to customers.

However, many small to mid-sized businesses often overlook this crucial step.

The Missing Link

Digital agencies often assume that the client has already done the strategic work, leaving a crucial gap in the process.

They may ask the client questions about what makes them different, but the answers should ideally come from the customers.

This lack of a structured process to extract customer insights can lead to a misalignment of messaging and strategy.

The Role of a Strategic Foundation

Building a strategic foundation involves understanding your ideal clients, what they value, and how your business uniquely solves their problems.

When this groundwork is neglected, digital agencies may attempt to guide clients through the process.

However, the true power lies in extracting insights from customers to inform the marketing strategy.

Streamlining the Process

By prioritizing diagnosis before prescription, businesses can pinpoint where they should focus their efforts and discover opportunities for generating referrals.

This clarity ensures that resources are directed to the most effective channels, reducing the feeling of overwhelm.

Overcoming Overwhelm

The diagnostic process not only refines your marketing strategy but also helps you overcome overwhelm.

Knowing where your customers hang out and play allows you to streamline your efforts, saying no to unnecessary channels and concentrating on the areas that matter most.

The Secret to Marketing Success

The fundamental secret to marketing success lies in having a well-defined process.

Whether you’re in the market to buy marketing services or already working with a digital agency, ensuring that the strategic groundwork is in place is paramount.

This strategic foundation empowers agencies to amplify the impact of your digital channels effectively.


In the realm of marketing, the journey begins with diagnosis before prescription.

By understanding your customers, honing your strategy, and arming your digital agency with valuable insights, you set the stage for success.

Remember, even if you find an agency you love, make sure they can assist you in the strategic work or consider hiring a company specifically for that purpose.

It’s the surefire way to grow your revenue, make your phone ring, and increase your visibility. Here’s to your marketing success!



Patrick McFadden

Small Business Marketing Consultant // CEO of @indispmarketing // I install a marketing process to increase visibility, grow revenue & make your phone ring